27 Oct 2016
Revolutionary switch design could significantly reduce rail service disruption caused by points failures
Loughborough University’s Control Systems Group has today announced that a consortium led by Ricardo Rail Ltd will develop the first installation of a radical new track switch product.
Repoint is a patented ultra-high availability/maintainability track switch that could help support increased levels of day-to-day rail traffic across the network.
The design introduces the concept of using several actuators to operate the same points, meaning that in the event of a single failure the remaining actuators continue to function safely. With this additional redundancy built into each machine, rail traffic can still pass and remedial maintenance can be scheduled without causing immediate disruption to services.
Repoint also uses a unique ‘lift, hop and drop’ mechanism, a method that eliminates the friction experienced by the slide chairs used in traditional point machines. It is also much faster to operate: Repoint can move a switch in under half a second, compared to four seconds for conventional designs – an improvement that can help support increased network capacity.
The first full-scale Repoint will be integrated with London Underground infrastructure in early 2018.
The full release is available to view here.